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If you’re tuned into the natural hair movement at all, you’ve heard a lot of talk about sulfates over the years, mostly about how terrible they are. According to many curly hair gurus, hair products that contain sulfates can strip all of the moisture from delicate curly hair, resulting in dryness, frizz and damage. But lots of shampoos contain sulfates. Are they really all that harmful?

The answer isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are both pros and cons to sulfates, and understanding how they work will help you figure out the right shampoo for you.

What Are Sulfates, Anyway?

Sulfates are detergents. They’re the ingredient that makes your shampoo lather into that satisfyingly sudsy consistency. They’re in all kinds of products, not only shampoo but also soap, dish detergent, toothpaste and tons of other foam-y products. The most common sulfates are sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate.

Sulfates are certainly harsher than natural cleansers — they really get in there and clean. All that lather results in a squeaky-clean feeling. By the same token, they strip the skin and hair of much of its moisture and oil.

Who Should Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo?

The problem with sulfates is that they can be too stripping. Your hair needs some amount of oil and moisture to feel and look healthy. This is especially important if you have hair that is dry, fragile, kinky, curly or coarse. By using sulfates on your hair regularly, you set yourself up for a game of perpetual catch-up, trying to restore the moisture from your hair that your shampoo keeps taking away.

Sulfate-free shampoo is also useful for people with delicate skin, since the ingredient can cause redness or irritation.

Lastly, if you have dyed hair, consider switching to a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates strip the dye from your hair prematurely.

Sulfate-free shampoo isn’t for everyone, though. If your scalp tends to be quite greasy or oily and needs to be washed often, sulfates could work wonderfully for you. Also, if you have dandruff or another scalp condition, you’ll definitely want to stick with a shampoo with sulfates and other active ingredients to cut down on the flakes.

Alternatives to Sulfates

Some people enjoy using products with sulfates simply because it’s satisfying — you get a rich lather, and it feels like it’s easy to get clean. Other products may require more scritching and scratching. However, sulfates are just one of several “surfactants” that lather up. Others, like cocobetaines (derived from coconut oil) have a similar effect and are not quite as harsh.

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Take Care of Your Skin and Your Body – How Baking Soda Can Help You Be Happier and Healthier

Baking Soda Beauty Tips

by beconrad

Whether you are looking for a way to make your skin firmer and younger looking or the secret to a healthier lifestyle, the answer may be as close as your pantry or refrigerator. Baking soda is a staple of most households, but this miracle powder can do far more than keep odors out of your fridge and round out your favorite recipes.

Many people do not realize that baking soda has some important benefits for your body and your skin, and once you learn about its powers you will want to pick up a couple of extra boxes on your next trip to the grocery store. Baking soda costs far less than cosmetics and other healthy solutions, but it is just as effective. Here are some great ways to utilize baking soda beauty as part of your everyday health and skincare regimen.

Clean Your Teeth the Natural Way

Commercial toothpastes are full of artificial and potentially dangerous chemicals, from sweeteners to thickeners to dyes. If you prefer to take a more natural approach to caring for your teeth, just reach for the baking soda.

Mix baking soda and warm water until it forms a thick paste, then apply it to your toothbrush and brush your teeth as you normally would. The tingle you feel is the baking soda doing its good work, and your teeth will feel clean and fresh for hours.

Keep Your Fingernails Clean and Well Manicured

Farmgirls all too often have farmgirl hands. Dirt under your nails? Grimy hands? Just reach for some baking soda beauty to keep your fingernails clean and beautiful. Add a small amount of water to a dish of baking soda, dip a small nail brush in the solution, and gently scrub around your cuticles and under your fingernails.

When you are done scrubbing your fingernails, you can use the same solution to gently exfoliate the skin on your hands. Gently rub the solution on your skin in a circular motion to remove dead skin and leave your hands looking and feeling better than ever.

Scrub Your Skin Clean

Baking soda is the perfect base for an all-over scrub, and your skin will feel fresh and re-energized when you use it. Simply mix one part plain ground oatmeal, three parts baking soda and one part water to make the exfoliating scrub, then rub it gently over your body in a circular motion.

Let the scrub on your skin for 10-15 minutes until it dries, then wash it off with warm water. This inexpensive and easy to make body scrub will leave you feeling like you just got back from the spa.

Remove Your Makeup with Ease

Removing makeup and other facial products is not always easy, but you do not have to buy expensive preparations to get the job done. Just mix up a paste of baking soda and water and use a soft brush to apply it to your face.

Allow the paste to dry, and then wash your face thoroughly with warm water. You will feel your pores opening up right away, and your face will feel better than ever.

Remove Hair Product Build-Up

Even the mildest shampoos and conditioners can leave a harmful buildup behind, but removing it is as simple as adding baking soda. Just sprinkle a quarter-sized dollop of baking soda into your palm the next time you wash your hair, add your favorite shampoo and mix it all together.

From there you can simply wash your hair as you normally would. The baking soda will help remove any existing buildup from your hair while preventing additional residue from taking root. Your hair will feel fresh and clean, all without spending money on expensive hair treatments.

From making your hair shinier and healthier to giving your face a radiant glow, baking soda can do it all. Just pick up a few extra boxes of this all-around cleanser and explore all the great things baking soda can do.


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